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VorpalBunny
May 1, 2009

Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog


Backstory - my husband and I have 2 young bio kids, but due to some lovely stuff in my childhood I really wanted to be a foster/adoptive parent if we decided to have more kids. My goal was to fost/adopt a sibling set to go with our bio set, so they could all play with each other but then the siblings would have each other as well.

My husband and I have been foster parents for 2 1/2 years now. We started out doing respite care, which is providing short term fostering for families who have medical emergencies or are traveling and can't take their foster kids. It's like extended babysitting, and we did it to make sure we could handle another kid or two and that our bio kids wouldn't freak out with new kids in the house, how we would emotionally respond to a short-term placement, etc. Our respite kid was awesome, the kids all got along swell, so we decided to go for a long-term placement.

We didn't have an age specifically, but we thought a sibling set near the same age as our bio kids (3 & 1 when we became certified) would be best. We knew it would be a handful, but it made the most sense. So when we got a call about a meth-positive, herpes-exposed newborn in a NICU needing an 8-day placement...we just saw it as another kind of respite care. We were warned that even though it was a temporary placement, things could get complicated and stuff. We took him in anyway, and long story short we just adopted him 2 years later this past April. No bio parents contact ever, weekly visitation with his extended bio family gradually tapered off and once it was clear they would never gain custody they just stopped showing up, and he is the happiest, most healthy little dude you've ever met. And super flirty too, he's 2 1/2 and is SUCH a ladies man!

The most basic thing I can say, for anyone looking to foster, is it is not about you. You are not the main focus of this process, everything is about the kid. As much as all of the training and visitation and appointments seem like a pain in the rear end, they are not for you to feel good about the world. It is for the scared little kid who may be acting like an rear end in a top hat but is really freaked out because even though they have only known chaos and pain and misery, it is their normal and anything you do to change that is shaking their world apart. I cannot stress this enough, this whole process is not about you, or your monetary compensation, or making you feel comfortable or secure in your lifestyle. I have seen too many people get frustrated by this process and quit because they never saw this through the kid's eyes. You should be a beacon of light in a sea of poo poo for those kids, and even if they are only placed with you for a short while, you need to make that short while the best example of leading a caring, loving responsible lifestyle so when that kid grows up and reflects on their life they have that moment of time that may have stuck with them to give them a blueprint for some kind of success.

I have a TON of unsolicited advice for people looking to fost/adopt. I'm happy to post more of it here (once I have another free moment later, I have the two youngest at home with me right now)!

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VorpalBunny
May 1, 2009

Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog


skipdogg posted:

Even though a family we were very familiar took us in, they were close family friends even, it still took me the better part of 18 months to get comfortable, and took some of their family even longer to accept us. Showing up at family Christmas with 2 new 13 and 11 year boys in your family didn't go over so hot with some of the extended family, but that was their loving problem. They were assholes back then, and they're still assholes today.

We made a point of asking our closest family members how comfortable they were with foster kids in their home during holidays and stuff. We did it not to accommodate them, but to weed out the folks who might not reveal their true colors until a child of a different ethnicity showed up for Christmas. I guess it was a Trump test before we knew how to properly identify the family assholes. So far, so good, but maybe warning them in advance made them temper their objections.

VorpalBunny
May 1, 2009

Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog


Mocking Bird posted:

I'm also a single parent household of people have questions about that.

Wow, you are amazing! How you manage all that in your life, I have no idea. My good friend works for the Dave Thomas Foundation, and the stories that she takes home to her family and has to deal with in her personal life are so stressful.

Once my kids are all older and out of the house I'd like to focus on fostering older kids. Right now we have toddlers and little kids, so taking in another toddler or little kid makes the most sense.

I really do wish all families with empty nest syndrome or struggling with fertility or whatever would consider foster/adopt. It's such a taboo, it seems, no one really considers it as a viable normal option for growing a family.

VorpalBunny
May 1, 2009

Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog


For us, in California, we had to make sure the garage had a walkway through all our stuff, we had to lock up our knives and cleansers, and our "adult" stuff had to be locked away. Our liquor cabinet has a cheap lock on it, and everything else is pretty easy to do - clear away clutter, etc. It's all just annoying little things.

I have heard there will be new regulations in 2017 to streamline homestudies and make it easier to get certified - there are so many kids in need of foster homes, and they eliminated the local facility where they were holding kids overnight, so the goal it seems is to make it easier for people sitting on the fence to be able to foster.

My husband and I are currently transitioning our rooms to potentially take in another foster child. We're not on the same page about taking in another right now, so we're giving ourselves a little more time to see if we land on common ground. Worst case, the extra bed can be used for sleepovers or guests.

VorpalBunny
May 1, 2009

Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog


veggiebacon posted:

One thing that I love about my favorite foster mom: her bio kids would go to a relative's house to spend the night pretty regularly and it was a big treat. Once she took in her foster kid, her bio kids didn't go over until the relative was ready to have ALL of her kids stay the night. They're part of the family, and the foster mom was drat well going to make sure they were treated as such. When they go on family vacations, that includes the foster kid. It sounds like the folks in this thread are more in line with this than a lot of foster parents, and that is amazing. You all do such needed and challenging work, and we need more of you!

We took our foster kids to Disneyland (we took in kids younger than 3, so they were free) and My Gym classes and stuff. Recently, since we knew we had international travel coming up we didn't want to take in a child and then have to put them in respite care because they wouldn't be able to join us on our vacations. I always try to put myself in the kids' shoes, would I want to feel alienated and unwanted or would I want to feel as equals with everyone else. My now adopted child was initially an 8-day placement, so we had to live our lives like he could be taken away at any moment. That never stopped us from including him in everything, including our family Christmas photos.

My former friends had a foster child, and their goal wasn't reunification but obstruction when it came to his bio family. They were fighting every step of the way, really questioning and belittling the bio mom and stuff. And then they put him into respite so they could take their bio daughter on a camping trip a few hours away over a long weekend. I was doing respite so we took him in, and when I asked my friend why they didn't take their foster child along he said "because I wanted to have a good time!" I was so mad, this kid was traumatized enough by his ordeal and then they didn't want to be bothered by him? I know we have a need for foster homes and caretakers, but MAN was I pissed.

VorpalBunny
May 1, 2009

Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog


My husband attended a meeting last night with our foster agency, where they discussed all the new regulations happening here in California in 2017. They are loosening the requirements for people to get and retain certification, and are increasing the standards for bio families seeking reunification. The amount of training required will decrease overall, which is awesome, and they changed a few requirements that directly affect my family - kids of the opposite sex can now share rooms until the age of 8 (it was 5) and there can be up to 4 kids in a room. I have NO IDEA what room they might be talking about, that seems kind of crazy to me.

The good news is it makes our situation a little easier to work with. We are still on the fence about taking in another foster child right now (our kids are almost-6, 3 & 2 - a handful!), but these new regulations make it easier for us to renew our certification and give ourselves a little more time.

VorpalBunny
May 1, 2009

Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog


We got a call late yesterday afternoon for a newborn, meth & alcohol exposed, ready to be detained by DCFS and released from the hospital. She was 36 hours old. I was hesitant about the alcohol exposure, but I was eventually told by the CSW that it was just meth. Hooray?

My (adopted) son was meth positive when he was born, but he has shown no effects of it and he's almost 3. Considering this newborn was being released so soon after her birth, I had to assume she was "healthy" and we later verified she was! She's been here for almost a day and she's sleeping and pooping and eating like any other newborn. No tremors or withdrawal signs of any kind.

So now we have a 6-year old, a 4-year old, an almost-3-year-old and a newborn. The newborn shouldn't be here long, but she's at least here for the long weekend here in the US. And our son was initially an 8-day placement, so...

My husband is still feeling nervous about our huge family, which is totally understandable, but this is our fourth newborn and it's kind of old hat at this point so as long as we keep on keeping on and making sure each kid feels their value in our family I think we'll be ok. We find out Tuesday or Wednesday all the family details, visitation, court dates, etc. Wee!

By the way, we live in Southern California and the need for homes is worse than ever. If anyone is on the fence here in LA, I'm here to offer any advice I can!

VorpalBunny
May 1, 2009

Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog


When we got the call on Friday night for our newborn placement, they told us meth and alcohol exposure. Then revised to just meth exposure (as far as they knew).

We picked her up late Friday night and our foster agency contact was out to dinner with his family and was no help. And our DCFS contact was about to leave for the long weekend. I had to be proactive and have DCFS fax the paperwork to the hospital so I could sign it myself and have the nurses fax it back to her. That was the last contact I had with DCFS until this morning, when someone called to verify she was actually in our home. I haven't heard from or met with a CSW, nor have we met with our private foster agency except for a quick meeting to sign a bunch of forms and take her photo. It lasted all of ten minutes and I wasn't even home, my husband did all the signing. I'm supposed to get her checked out at the local county health office, but the paperwork hasn't been filed yet so I can't even do that. So we sit here and wait and hope everything is moving along ok!

The LA foster care scene is in such bad shape. We got word on a placement for us on 12/27 and the kid never showed up. DCFS had him listed as being with us, but he was somehow "lost" in the system and last I heard no one could locate him. I sure hope that kid is ok...

VorpalBunny
May 1, 2009

Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog


Baby is now a week old, we've had her for 6 days, and still no contact with DCFS. And its been 2 days since contact with our foster agency.
What a terrible system.

UPDATE: finally spoke to our private foster agency, and our social worker didn't even know our placement's name or date of birth. And we won't be seeing her until next Tuesday, which will be 11 days after we took the baby home from the hospital.
Also, apparently the biological mom is doing a legal name change for the newborn (was she high when she named her initially? I have no idea) which is delaying all the paperwork.
It's a good thing we know the system sucks, because trying to make sense of this process would drive a normal person nuts.

VorpalBunny fucked around with this message at 01:00 on Jan 20, 2017

VorpalBunny
May 1, 2009

Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog


Kodilynn posted:

I can't fathom why people do what they do to children, but if bio-mom wants to get her life back on track I'm going to cheer her on and support her every step of the way that I can. That's all we can do in the end anyway.

One of the things I say to people that makes them pretty much dumbfounded about our situation is this - I really really really want our foster child's family in their lives, either on the way to reunification or not. I want to do everything I can for the bio family to be involved with our foster kids, because these kids deserve as many people in their lives that love them as possible. I understand this is rose-colored glasses stuff, that many people involved in the system and their extended families are broken and can be toxic to kids. And it's my job to filter out as much of that as I can for the child. But it is not my job to be a roadblock for families and create more drama in an already messed-up situation.

We had our first court date last week for our latest placement, and the bio great-grandmother was in attendance. I didn't approach her before our case was called, as I had no idea how she would react to my presence, but once we got into the courtroom I realized she was just confused about what was going on and seems really mild-mannered. I had taken video and photos of our foster girl for any family that might show up to court (including bio parents who were not-shockingly absent from court) but I was happy to show them to her great-grandma after the case was heard. The lawyer for the child was pretty stunned I did that for her, and when I started making calls to the social worker to set up visits with the bio family and gave the great-grandma all the contact info she needed (including mine) the lawyer was seriously blown away and thanked me profusely. My guess is she sees more terrible foster parents than not, but my philosophy is and always will be why make a rough situation even worse for no reason? Compassion flows both ways, I want this little girl to be loved and respected by everyone who comes into contact with her, and hopefully by sowing the seeds of friendship with her bio family we can detour some of the usual crap with visitation and stuff.

I was also a little confused if these bio family members were potential placements for our girl, but pretty much everyone has emphatically said "no!" with not much more detail given. I've heard the phrase "hot mess" and "there's a lot going on there" to describe it all, so I'll just sit back and keep my side as well-managed and loving as possible. Come what may.

I cannot stress how much it helps to have social workers and lawyers who actually communicate with you and follow-up on stuff. We get court notices in the mail, but we also got a letter from the child's lawyer with court info and we talked about it with both our foster agency and the social worker. Now we play the waiting game. Visits are starting this week, but I doubt the bio parents will be involved. They've got 6 months to get their act together (the list of requirements they needed to meet, classes and treatment and stuff, was pretty staggering) or we move onto the next step, which I guess will be termination of parental rights and then adoption placement. My guess is, unless some bio family hiccups happen, she'll be ready for adoption in 18-24 months. But we take everything day by day and take nothing for granted, knowing she could be placed in another home at any time for any reason.

VorpalBunny
May 1, 2009

Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog


I knew a family who went out of their way to frustrate the foster & visitation process. Wherever the bio family wanted to meet was "too far away" or "too short of notice", but when we respited their foster kid we went out of the way to set up visits and even let them go long on time if everyone was having a good time. I really didn't care if it pissed off the foster family (in one case I know the foster child actively did not want to return to her foster home because of the restrictions they placed on her visits with bio family - talk about the foster family breeding resentment in someone you claim to love!)

These kids have their own perspectives, their own expectations, why would you inject your own prejudices and demands on a process you just were thrown into? In our case, our foster placements have all been babies so there was no real history with their bio family, but for older kids or kids with memories with bio family (both good and bad) I say how dare you dictate how these kids interact with their bio families? Unless there's real danger or harm there, of course.

VorpalBunny
May 1, 2009

Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog


Hey everyone, I hope radio silence means everyone is keeping busy with placements and stuff.

I just got the wonderful word that bio mom to our latest foster placement might be pregnant again! Our foster child is not even 3 months old, so...yeah. Apparently she also called the social worker last week demanding visitation, then promised to call back and hasn't yet. I guess there is a reason why bio grandmother and great-grandmother have a restraining order against her.

We'll see how the next few months go, our next court date is end of August.

VorpalBunny
May 1, 2009

Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog


Kodilynn posted:

To this end I'm certainly guilty of trying way too hard to make reunification happen. I facilitate visits (beyond what's required), I keep in contact with bio parent to ask about her calendar, classes, work, make sure she's at least trying to keep up with it all. It's a shame it went this way but I've definitely done more than any other foster parent they've dealt with and they've actually said that in e-mails thanking us for doing so much compared to most parents they work with. I'll do an update after the meeting.

I understand that feeling completely. We are fixers, we are compassionate, we want everything to work out for everyone. Somehow.

When I went to our first court date, I met our foster daughter's bio great-grandmother (maternal). She had no idea what was going on with court, what the process it, anything. I gave her my mobile phone number and texted her to make sure my info was in her phone. I showed her pictures and video of the baby, and I gave her the county social worker's contact info. A week later I got a text from a random number that turned out to be the bio grandma (maternal). All was pleasant, setting up a regular weekly visit. They would text me randomly asking how she was doing, I would text back a photo.

Then bio mom suddenly showed up at a visit with them. Ok, no problem. But bio grandma has a restraining order against bio mom, so I had to alert CSW they were together. Suddenly bio mom was texting me from grandma's number, demanding tons of visits. Ok, but we'd need to coordinate with CSW. Then I would get texts late at night, phone calls from random numbers, all from bio mom demanding visits at the last minute. I actually got a call from the CSW, while I was en route to a visit, telling me to turn around as no one had cleared visits with her. And just this morning we had a meeting with the CSW where it was revealed bio mom thinks she's pregnant (she missed her period) and that she is giving up that kid but fighting for our foster child. I was told if she didn't make efforts to comply with all the rules, they would likely move to terminate parental rights. She's hasn't done a thing and she admitted to currently doing drugs - yes, even though she thinks she's pregnant.

At the end of the meeting today I promised to stop being so lenient with texts and visits, to stick to the current visitation schedule, and to not let them get away with calling late at night to change things all around. They appreciate what I am trying to do, but warned me to pull back and not be so helpful as we were likely only delaying the inevitable. I, of course, want all my kids to have contact with all their bio relatives, but if it's chaos 24/7 I have to do what's best for them and I guess we'll see if the bio mom gets her stuff together. All signs point negative.

VorpalBunny
May 1, 2009

Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog


Solaron posted:

This is good to know. My wife and I are considering this as well, since we've been told that the 2 boys and the newborn will probably end up being available for adoption since the parents aren't making any progress. We can take on the 3 kids but with one of them having fairly severe special needs and ~20 medical appointments per month, we can't afford to adopt them without retaining some of the subsidy. We don't want to appear greedy or anything, and we don't know how Ohio handles it and what we can keep if we do adopt them, but the financial strain just isn't doable otherwise.

It's funny, we never took WIC (ie formula provided by the state) for our first foster placement. Every other foster parent thought we were nuts, but I figured with the monthly stipend we were already getting we could afford formula and everything else. I had that guilt of not really "needing" it. It wasn't until I mentioned that here on the forums did people gently remind me that my family is what these programs are for. It's all for the kid, we're not flipping formula or anything, and that kid is technically a ward of the state. Even though people who get assistance are often looked down on for whatever reason, we are caring for the most vulnerable people in our society and the money has been set aside just for them.

Now with our current placement we are taking WIC, and while I still have residual guilt about it, I'll be honest and say it's nice to not have to worry about that added expense anymore. We'll likely drop it once she's off formula in 8 months or so, but it is nice to know she has that support no matter what happens. There's a reason social programs are in place, we need to learn to embrace them if for no other reason than the welfare of these children.

VorpalBunny
May 1, 2009

Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog


We are getting WIC here in California for our foster daughter (she's almost 5 months old), and up until now it's all been formula. Apparently, when kids turn 6 months they start phasing out formula and introduce solids.

Having raised 3 babies previously, one who I exclusively nursed until 13 months, it kind of boggles my mind that the state would be pushing solids so early! She can't even sit up, has no teeth, but they gave us a coupon for bananas and tons of processed baby food. I really question the push for solids so early, and I wonder if there is anywhere I can research why this is the policy. Am I nuts? I don't consider myself a helicopter parent or health nut or anything, but the phrase "under one just for fun" doesn't seem to exist here. They really cut back the formula, even at 6-months old, from 10 cans per month to 7.

Has anyone else experienced this in other states?

VorpalBunny
May 1, 2009

Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog


Kodilynn posted:

We've moved back and forth on adoption as cost is a sad but relevant issue. We're both on the fence because we don't want them going anywhere else, but daycare costs will eat our lunch. Hopefully if it comes down to that, we can negotiate a stipend into the adoption contract for continuity of care.

There are tons of resources for foster/adopted kids and daycare. Here in CA we have a few options, it's absolutely worth spending a night googling the crap out of this issue and firing off a ton of emails to various agencies and resources. Our monthly stipend after adopting our son is still rather sizable, and it pays for his preschool.

And your visitation issues sound all too familiar. Once my son's bio family realized they weren't going to get custody, they simply stopped showing up even though visits took place literally right around the corner from their home in a neighborhood park. We've only fostered newborns, so both were too little to understand what was going on. Bio mom for our current placement told us she might be headed to jail a few weeks ago, and she hasn't asked for visitation since.

It's kind of what your job is, to help shield them from the chaos they were pulled from. It's a shame these visits are affecting everyone so poorly, but your stability otherwise is a good balancing force in their lives.

VorpalBunny
May 1, 2009

Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog


I have no advice for an older kid. Our current placement is only 6 months old, and her next court hearing is on 8/31. I have been told repeatedly the social workers are recommending termination of reunification services, which puts the adoption stuff on track for us, but mom has suddenly gotten interested in visitations (both of which she canceled last week) and she confirmed she is pregnant again. It's the kind of chaos I know we should expect, but seeing it on full display is really heartbreaking. Again, our placement is only 6 months old and more interested in teething and crawling than anything else. She's only seen her mom 3 times in her life, after we picked her up from the hospital.

I have also started massaging the idea of taking in the newborn with my husband, if the new baby should be taken in by DCFS. We'd then have 5 CHILDREN in a small 3 bedroom home here in Los Angeles. I can't tell what might drive me more nuts, 5 little kids in our small home or knowing her full-brother is out there in the world and cross my fingers he ends up ok. But then, what if she has yet another? It's making my head spin thinking about it, so I just try to take it one day at a time.

VorpalBunny fucked around with this message at 17:40 on Jul 31, 2017

VorpalBunny
May 1, 2009

Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog


It's funny (and sad) but we are a month away from court and suddenly bio dad is back in the picture. And bio mom called me a few times last night at 10pm - I did not answer the phone.

We didn't have to deal with this when we foster/adopted my youngest son. The bio parents never contacted us, never visited, and when the grandfather and great-grandmother realized they weren't going to be able to adopt him they simply stopped coming to visitation.

I was advised by all social workers involved in our case that this is very common, people try to cram as many visits and as much training as possible right before court to somehow make their case better, but this baby is almost 7-months old and never met her bio dad and only met bio mom 3 times. I know cases go left all the time, and we are prepared for the worst at court, but to think somehow making a lot of noise and drama at the last minute is a good thing is one of the reasons they are in this mess. I just feel sad for everyone involved and try to stay out of the way. I have been told many times that I have to let them do their part on their own, I can't try to fix everyone.

VorpalBunny
May 1, 2009

Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog


Mocking Bird posted:

This is normal. People don't want to be seen as uncaring or bad parents who are abandoning their child. They want to be able to cling to the narrative that they did everything they could.

I'm telling a mom today that she won't be reunifying with her children. I'm not happy about it, but children deserve safety and a permanent home.

I was advised today by our new social worker they are recommending going for a full termination of parental rights, and to ask for what we call a 26 hearing here in LA. I am a little shocked, it's happening a little faster than we expected, but today bio dad met his daughter for the first time and she's 6 1/2 months old. Court is on the 31st, and I'm also still trying to find out bio mom's due date so we can be prepared to take that one in too, just in case.

And after another round of late-night texts and phone calls last night from bio mom, scrambling this week's visitation schedule, the social workers told me to refer all calls and requests to them and I decided to not respond to her after 5pm. It will save my sanity, and prevent confusion, but I am prepared for some angry messages from bio mom.

VorpalBunny
May 1, 2009

Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog


He will likely be an immediate detainee for CPS/DCFS and then placed in foster care. If there isn't immediate bio family that can take him, then he will end up with a foster family and he will likely stay with them until a suitable bio family member is found. There is no rush, and if you don't want to immediately be involved then you have some time to get your stuff together while the baby is safe with a foster family until you decide to get involved.

We are ~8 months in to our current placement, and the bio great grand mother is still holding out hope her home will be cleared for placement. Our termination of parental rights hearing is January, so she has 4 months to get it together. But if she hasn't gotten it together by now then, well...

EDIT: If she has been using during her pregnancy, there is a possibility the child will have physical and/or mental issues. We have lucked out, our two meth-positive foster kids have been very healthy so far. But we know issues could arise for them in the future. You need to mentally prepare yourself for a child that has physical and/or emotional needs beyond whatever family drama you would be dealing with. Do some research into meth-exposed children and steel yourself, if this is something you for sure want to be involved with.

VorpalBunny fucked around with this message at 06:20 on Sep 5, 2017

VorpalBunny
May 1, 2009

Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog


Solaron posted:

So whether or not we're going to keep the boys, we'll at least have them through the holidays - which may be bittersweet, but we're trying not to think of that.

This actually brings up an interesting issue we've had to deal with for the past few years. Before we adopted my youngest son, we had him for 2 holiday seasons. We included him in every family photo, gave him a stocking like everyone else, essentially treated him like a permanent part of the family even though we knew he could leave at any time. We had some friends who were fostering at the same time, and they took the opposite approach. They didn't include their foster kid in photos and didn't do the same traditions as their bio kid. Their argument was they weren't sure how long the kid would be there, it would be too painful to look back on photos for a kid they no longer had, etc. It's just one of those little issues you don't think about too much while you are in training. We actually have photos of those friends' old foster child hanging on our fridge, while I assume they have purged all documentation of him from their lives. They recently gave up their foster license, which is probably the best for everyone.

We now have our latest foster placement for the holidays, and her parental rights termination hearing is 3 days before her first birthday in January. This is going to be an interesting next few months!

And her bio mom cancelled her visit this morning ONCE AGAIN, at the last minute, so I emailed all the social workers involved to revise her visitation to one day a week. She hasn't seen her daughter in weeks, I could be doing so much more with this time I am wasting preparing for (and often driving to) these cancelled visits. After this mom decided to skip court last week (her one big chance to advocate for her daughter), I have given up responding to her random text messages and playing these erratic games and am going to stick to communicating strictly through the social workers. I don't give a poo poo if you think we should be dressing her in princess clothes, actually make an effort to visit with her and then we can talk.

VorpalBunny
May 1, 2009

Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog


After last week's visitation debacle, and a reminder from our Social Worker that Bio mom and Bio dad aren't allowed to visit together based on a court order from previous domestic violence problems (even though they live together in a motel right now)...I got a text from Bio mom saying this week's visit would be her last for a while as she is checking into lockdown rehab. It took me a few hours to realize why she is going into rehab now, when she supposedly started a new job and is in her third trimester - she doesn't want her baby to test positive when he's born. She wants to keep him.

Yesterday bio dad confirmed visitation for 11am, bio mom confirmed for 12pm and today at 12:30pm I drove away from the visitation center after they stood us up completely. As I was driving home, they texted me to say they were "8 mins away, sorry about that" but I was already halfway home and the social worker told me not to worry about it. I gave them the benefit of the doubt, once again, and they proved to me that chaos rules in their lives.

I continue to be grateful that our foster daughter is too young at 8months to understand what is happening, and I continue to monitor the resentment I feel that these assholes are passing up every chance they get to see this amazing little girl. They don't seem to understand it's not me they are keeping waiting for hours on end, it's the little girl they claim to love so much. And the excuses are always so flimsy and odd, I have to chalk it up to drugs and chaos in their life.

Now I get word that Bio mom is delaying her rehab so she can have one last visit with her daughter next week, and all I can think is how she'll sabotage that as well and then use it as an excuse to put off rehab once more. I don't think these people understand the gravity of the situation, she is about to give birth to another kid who will likely test positive for drugs and be taken away again. That's two kids under 1 in the foster care system, and she's maybe 20.

VorpalBunny
May 1, 2009

Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog


I just had to share this:

Bio mom to our almost-9-month old girl is pregnant. I have never gotten a due date from anyone, though I keep asking as I know we will be the first call if the kid is detained in the hospital. My guess is mom must have gotten pregnant the first chance she got, so the baby is due likely due next month if she goes to term. I'm trying to accept the fact we cannot bring that new baby into our home, which is really hard since those kids are so close in age. I'm struggling a bit with this.

Anyway, we had visitation yesterday and bio-mom had all these gift bags with her. It turns out...she had a baby shower for her unborn child and was sharing the gifts with our foster daughter. It was all kind of surreal, I was trying to understand throwing a party for a child you likely won't keep and sharing the gifts with the child you are on track to lose. The level of denial is kind of amazing, I can't even imagine how to live life like that.

We also got a report through the social worker that bio-grandmother (who has a restraining order against bio-mom) is still living in the same house as bio-mom and bio-dad, who also have restraining orders against each other. She reported that bio-mom and bio-dad get into screaming matches all the time, the cops are often called but don't bother showing up, and that bio-mom is smoking weed while bio-dad is actively using meth. So the chances are pretty high her child will test positive for at least marijuana at birth, which is what makes the baby shower and impending birth all so surreal to me. There are also 4 other minor children living in that house, I can't even imagine it.

Chaos, denial, rage, restraining orders...they keep saying they are headed to rehab, but bio-grandmother says they have no plans for it. How do these people think they are going to be able to keep and raise a baby?

I just had to share. I got that glimpse into chaos and was grateful to return to my relatively boring life.

VorpalBunny
May 1, 2009

Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog


I totally understand your break, sounds like you've been put through the ringer.

Our 10-month old's biomom had her second child a few weeks ago (the math doesn't even really add up, but whatever) and we're struggling with the idea of potentially taking him in. We already have 4 in the home, our oldest turns 7 next week, and a newborn on top of that would be rough. My husband and I agreed that if the baby is detained further down the road we can potentially take him in, but it would be too much with a toddler and a newborn on top of everything else.

But we were also informed that since mom is currently in rehab and clean and "doing well", even though our social worker hasn't really had direct contact with her rehab or whatever social worker might have been assigned to the case, she may be on track to reunify with our foster placement. So we currently could either sever parental rights at her next court case on Jan 9th, we may get a call any day about the newborn, or we could lose our placement if mom keeps on the right path. All are equally possible, all are possibilities we need to prepare for.

The roller coaster continues!

VorpalBunny
May 1, 2009

Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog


porkswordonboard posted:

A question, those of you with biological kids: how do you work with that?

The main thing I try to emphasize is that as foster parents, they have a family already that loves them very much (even if they don't) and we are only taking care of these children until their family feels better and can take care of them again. And if we end up keeping them forever, we still potentially get to have the other family in our lives.

I don't explain it clinically or anything, and this stuff always comes out in dribs and drabs, but we do things like call our foster kids "friends" instead of "brother" or "sister", as those labels promise a bond we can't legally ensure. It's much worse for a little kid to call another kid "my brother" only to have that kid removed at a moment's notice. It starts to make them question their bonds with other people in the family. I watched one only child who cycled through a few of the whole little "sister" or "brother" scenarios, and she started getting paranoid that she was going to be taken away someday. I tell my kids about visitations with the bio family, and if they have questions about the case or whatever I try to be as honest and soft as possible. I remind them that every day with their foster friend is a gift, there are no guarantees, but they are a part of the family for the time we have them in our care. We include them in everything, like family portraits and vacations, and we try to spread our attention out equally across all our kids. Which is easier said than done, but we try.

We have only ever fostered/adopted kids younger than our bio kids. We have 2 bio kids, 1 foster/adopted kid and a current foster placement. Her future with us is tenuous at best (long story, we mis-timed our adoptive home placement certification so the termination of parental rights hearing next month will likely be delayed. Great.) but we included her in our traditional family holiday photos, and are planning a 1st birthday party for her and everything. We're even trying to get her a passport to bring her along to an overseas trip next fall, but I guess we'll see how court goes before pursuing that.

Before we fostered, I wanted to have a few bio kids first to make sure I was even good at parenting before I put myself under the microscope of foster care. Literally, everything about fostering is scrutinized so I wanted to make sure I was comfortable in defending my skills and prepared for as many bumps in the road as I could. My husband and I agreed we need to make sure each kid felt valued and loved, and the more kids we had the harder that would be. We were initially prepared for a sibling set to raise alongside our bio siblings, but life never works out like you planned.

It's going to be different for every family. Not one scenario is exactly the same, but the main advice I can give is to be prepared and confident in your family and your parenting skills. Even if you aren't sure or anything, that's what all the training and classes and certification steps are for. Because when you have that kid in your home and DCFS is scheduling in-home visits and bio family is texting you at all hours or accusing you of stuff and the paperwork gets to be overwhelming, you need to be able to keep your head on straight, feet on the ground and maintain the positive focus and loving atmosphere that child deserves.

VorpalBunny
May 1, 2009

Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog


Kodilynn posted:

The fact that she got to go to Disney World with us and that Santa is coming a few days early so our families can come to a going away party and celebrate Christmas a bit earlier so she can be included. At least we're making lasting memories that she'll have for the rest of her life.

It's this kind of thinking I find so lacking in many foster homes. So many times, I want to scream at people "IT'S NOT ALL ABOUT YOU!" when they talk about their cases or reflect on their time in foster care. These kids did not ask to have this happen to them, they do not deserve the uncertainty and upheaval, and it's our job as foster families to create and nurture as much of a cocoon of normalcy and love as we can. Sure there will be struggles, sure there will be tears, but it's up to all of us to make sure these kids come out of this traumatic experience with as few scars as possible. They should only know love from everyone they encounter, which means making them feel like a member of the family and including them in your awesome life experiences and giving them a sense of self and value that might otherwise slip away.

I may have told this story before, but it sticks with me as a pure moment of selfishness from another foster family - they asked if we could take in their foster placement for a long holiday weekend. I asked what they were going to be doing, and they told me they were going on a big family camping trip and they "didn't want to be bothered" with their foster placement. And then we got to deal with his tears all weekend, and his rage at being placed in yet another strange home, and there was a bio family visit so there was a lot of emotion wrapped around that whole experience. And this foster family was off enjoying their weekend, unencumbered by the trouble of their foster placement. I have never forgiven them, and I cut off almost all contact with them soon after that, for inflicting such pain and suffering on a child so carelessly. His sobbing for "mama! mama!" on the car ride home from visitation still haunts me.

Kudos to you, and every other foster family out there, for giving these kids such strong building blocks for life. We have no control over what happens before they come into our homes or after they leave, but for the time they are with us we damned well better make sure to do everything we can to give them the lives they deserve.

VorpalBunny
May 1, 2009

Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog


Christmas is basically over, and I find myself grateful to have shared it with our little one but a little heartsick since court is on Jan 9th and we have no idea what will happen. We haven't heard a word from bio mom or dad in months, but they happened to be in the DCFS office when we were visiting with the extended bio family last week and it was awkward. I don't know why they were there, and I didn't want to pry, but they never even asked me what she was doing for her first Christmas or even said a word to me except for goodbye. It really hurts my heart for her that they have barely participated in her life. She is walking now, saying "Dada" regularly, her milestones are frequent and awesome, and her bio family doesn't even ask about her. Every once in a while I just shake my head in disbelief, why are we doing all these visits and going through the court motions if they ultimately don't really care about her? Do they really care and are unable to show it in a conventional way? I guess this is why DCFS is involved in their lives.

I also found myself wondering after all the children being detained by DCFS over the holidays. Chaos doesn't take a Christmas break, and even if we send this little one back to her bio family I don't think I can shake this desire to help another little person in a scary situation. Being a foster parent is hard, but being a foster kid is harder, and while we have the safety and security of our family and friends to share the season with...they don't. And it breaks my heart that these little ones are so far off the social radar, I worry about their services and DCFS staff and stuff being cut in this political climate. I just wish more people opened their arms a little wider to bring in these kids, to give them shelter from the storm.

Enough rambling, I just wanted to reach out to you guys and wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. It helps to know there are a few folks who can identify in some way with this crazy adventure we're on.

VorpalBunny
May 1, 2009

Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog


My husband and I talked about this stuff when we moved in together, how we wanted to explore foster/adoption after we had a few bio kids. I wanted to make sure that primal urge to reproduce was taken care of, and I wanted to make sure we were actually good at being parents before we opened our home to the foster/adoption process. We had 2 kids, were decent at it, and decided to get foster certified and see how it went. We sort of took everything step by step, had no preconceived plan for anything, and accepted our adopted son within a week of being foster certified. He was an 8-day placement who never left!

As for our extended family, we brought it up at family events to gauge people's reactions. We told them we were exploring the idea of being foster parents, and asked how they would feel about us bringing in new kids to their homes for family events and stuff. Everyone was overwhelmingly positive, the only negative we really got was how crazy we were to want to raise that many kids.

VorpalBunny
May 1, 2009

Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog


We have court tomorrow to determine if the parents lose their parental rights. They had their first visitation in months on Friday and they brought their newborn son. I am so torn about what might happen, part of me hopes tomorrow provides some finality either they get her back or we are poised to adopt her. What will likely happen is a delay of another few months, which sucks for a ton of reasons, and she goes on unaware of anything and stays confused as to why she has to be held by strangers for an hour every once in a while.

VorpalBunny
May 1, 2009

Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog


As expected the case was delayed to early March due to "failure to notify" even though both bio parents were present. Whatever. I was assured today by a lawyer that each child is on separate tracks. One was detained, one was not. One is on track for adoption, the other is not.

I sat through their other case, for their newborn, and it sounds like they are passing their drug tests and doing well. The judge praised them, but said it was too early to tell if they had truly turned a corner. They have these two handlers that travel everywhere with them, even escort them to the bathroom, and they have constant caretakers with them where they live. They also claim they haven't had any domestic violence issues since they went in the program, but they also live in completely separate dorm rooms so...

I waited around after court to talk to the bio parents. I have never really spoken with them, so in honor of my foster placement's upcoming 1st birthday I shook their hands, gave them a hug and told them how awesome it was to hear their progress. I never want to seem condescending, and I probably fumbled it hardcore, but I was trying to convey that no matter what happens in court she is an awesome little kid and their progress would make her proud. I mean, they have a full bio brother to my placement, even if we adopt her I would hope the brother could be a part of our lives.

Foster care and adoption is so messy. No wonder people just stick to bio kids and not get their hands dirty in stuff like visitation and court and hearings. But, I must say, this little girl is worth the pit in my stomach waiting outside the courtroom, the lack of sleep worrying about the millions of ways her case could go, the ball of tears behind my eyes when I think of saying goodbye to her. I can't wait for her to wake from her nap so I can give her a big hug.

VorpalBunny
May 1, 2009

Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog


Triangle Shirt Factotum posted:

My wife (after a cancer scare) has expressed interest at foster-to-adopt older kids, and we've realized that there is a huge goddamn bump in kids looking for homes after 8 years old or so, and that sibling groups of older than 8 seem like a huge uphill battle for the kids to find a family. I'm guessing that a lot of people looking to adopt want to stand tallest in their kid's memories over their biological family. Confirm/deny?

What is there to look for in how to help these kids? I assume things like "keeping up with extended family" and "visiting with biological parents" are normal (and good) for older kids, but what else could I be missing? I mean, I'm not worried at problems we can throw money at like flights to visit grandma or what have you, if we move around (wife probably wants to move after she finishes residency), but what might I be missing here?

I'm the day-to-day life person out of the two of us with organizing/cooking/cleaning/general scheduling, so I'm trying to figure on these things ahead of time.

The number one thing people worry about with older kid is how much trauma they have been through. It's hard enough with a teenager, but one who has been sexually abused since birth? Or even kids who have no outward violent tendencies, who are totally "normal", are still "damaged" in that they have enough of a history of abuse they are in the system. And sometimes being in the system can gently caress up a kid, or sibling sets who have been moved around and separated/reunited, and the trauma from that might not be so obvious. And there are obviously some selfish stuff in play, a newborn child will only know you as their parent, etc. It's a lot of work, but if you guys have that desire and are willing to deal with these issues, I say go for it! The world needs more people willing to take in children in desperate need of a soft landing.

I personally am open to the idea when my bio kids are all older, my friend specializes in older adoptions through the Dave Thomas Foundation. My bio kids are all still little, so we focused on newborns/toddlers. We ended up taking in 2 meth-positive newborns over the past few years, completely aware they might be affected for life due to their drug exposure. We adopted one in 2016 and are on track to adopt the other later this year.

Speaking of our case...I got a random text message this morning from the family of the bio mom saying the bio parents have "left their program" and no one knows where they are. They took their newborn, and I guess they said they were looking for a new program, but now I am bracing myself for a call from DCFS asking me to take in the newborn. It's kind of loving amazing how much things can change in an instant. One day we are all in court and I am praising them for their efforts to get and stay clean, and the next they go on the run with their baby. Perhaps it will all end well, but I can't help but wonder what the drama and chaos will bring next. Never a dull moment! At least our foster placement has no clue, she's too young to understand anyway but we don't really talk about this stuff in front of the kids.

EDITED TO ADD: An hour after posting this, we got the word from our social worker confirming the bio parents left rehab yesterday after court, and no one knows where they are. They told the other rehab place they were going to find a new rehab, but until then they are MIA. I was just warned by the social worker that the newborn's social worker was currently writing her report and to expect a phone call in the next day or two about potential placement. If they find him. I could very well get a phone call on our foster placement's birthday this Friday asking if we can take in her full brother. That would be 5 kids ages 7 and under in my tiny little home. I have a feeling my husband and I will be losing a lot of sleep over this new development.

VorpalBunny fucked around with this message at 19:56 on Jan 10, 2018

VorpalBunny
May 1, 2009

Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog


Mocking Bird posted:

I wish I was in SoCal, I would be totally down to help you with some respite/support care

As a “positive” if your older child has had parental rights terminated they often fast track the younger siblings when they are detained...

Thanks. We don't even have family around that can help, which would make this decision so much easier.

And yeah, that "positive" aspect is kind of what makes it so overwhelming. We weren't really expecting this situation to develop for another few months, at least! It bums me out that everyone expected them to relapse and/or gently caress it all up, I just didn't expect it so quickly. The consensus is that they were waiting for court, where they were given more control over their newborn based on their rehab progress, since they bailed once they got back from the courthouse.

VorpalBunny
May 1, 2009

Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog


Solaron posted:

We had PC hearing yesterday. Biomom surprised everyone by deciding to just sign everything and terminate her rights. Biodad said, via his attorney, that he thinks the boys should stay with us. So we had a brief hearing and now we're waiting on the Magistrate's decision. We should be able to have adoption completed by the fall!

Congrats! I'm not sure if you have it in your area, but in California we have several weeks of Paid Family Leave available for 12 months after the children are officially placed in your home for adoption. Which happens right after parental rights are terminated, we learned that one the hard way with our previous adoption. We thought the clock started when we officially adopted him, whoops.

We have our Parental Rights Termination hearing on 3/9 for our current placement, both parents were notified in person at our last hearing and they are currently on the run with a warrant out for their arrests so I doubt they'll be making it to court to contest. The extended family swears they are in rehab, but according to DCFS they are MIA so...

I keep thinking about the little baby they have with him. Is he being fed properly? Is he healthy? Does he have a warm place to sleep? Once they get arrested, the baby will be detained and we'll be getting that phone call.

VorpalBunny
May 1, 2009

Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog


So we've had some dramatic updates to our current case. Bio parents skipped out on rehab just after our last court date in early January, warrants were issued for their arrest and a detainment order was put out for their newborn son, my foster placement's full baby brother. It doesn't affect the case of our current placement, but we did instruct DCFS to call us first if/when the baby was detained so we were always waiting for that call.

I had our DCFS worker and our private foster care worker in the home yesterday for an in-home checkup and chat about our upcoming court date, where parental rights are likely to be terminated for our placement. During that meeting, I got The Call. The bio parents were arrested over the weekend and the baby was in the care of the maternal family, and DCFS was going to detain him and were calling to verify we were still willing to take him in. There's a whole other level to this, my husband and I deciding on how long-term this care would be, but we did agree that we would take him in initially so our private agency could find a local home for him and these siblings could grow up near each other and have playdates and stuff. I waited around yesterday, finally getting word that the child would arrive between 7pm-7:30pm. At 7:10pm, we got a call from DCFS that the family had essentially disappeared with the baby and were refusing to hand him over. This morning, after warrants for the family were threatened, they agreed to a 1pm handoff. That's in about an hour, let's see if that really happens.

So we are currently getting our home prepared for another little one, when an email update comes in from one of our social workers. According to a family member, bio mom is pregnant again. That would make 3 children under the age of 2 in the foster care system. And I immediately lost it. I had been cultivating this idea that we could have the bio brother in our lives somehow, how important the sibling bond is, but now there might be another sibling to keep track of? What if this one ends up in a third foster/adoptive home? How can I even begin to pretend to be able to have these kids be in each others' lives? What the gently caress are these people thinking, that the first two may have been lost to the system but third time is a charm?

I am an optimistic person, but I am also realistic. I have been doing my best to maintain a positive outlook on the foster care system, on the families involved, but this whole situation is seriously bending my optimism to a breaking point. These people are in their early 20s. They are drug addicts. Her family is allowing them to live in their homes, where 3 other minor children are exposed to their chaos...

I don't know how social workers do it. I hope this current baby is ok, and I hope the new baby is healthy and has a soft place to land.

VorpalBunny
May 1, 2009

Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog


A little update:

We took in our foster daughter's little brother, but within a day or so we realized 5 kids ages 7 and under was simply too much to handle for us. Our foster daughter is fresh into walking and becoming a toddler, thriving in this stage of pulling poo poo off of counters, emptying clothing drawers, climbing onto the couch and falling off, etc. Keeping an eye on her and keeping an eye on the infant, in addition to my 3 older kids, was just too much for me to do.

We let our private foster agency know we were unable to keep him longterm, and they actually found a home close to ours looking for a permanent placement and very happy to maintain sibling contact. The day before we handed him over to his new home, we had our court hearing where parental rights were severed for our foster placement and now we are on track for adoption! It was a little awkward, bio dad had been shuttled in from prison so he was there in shackles and never made eye contact with me. Bio great-grandma and bio grandma were also there, and I tried to contain my joy when the judge made his ruling, but I am just so relieved to be past this point.

I have been in contact with the foster family for her little brother, they have really been such a great home. The bio family had been feeding him solids and juice (he was 3-months old when we took him in) so he was having stomach problems. They also admitted to leaving him strapped in a carseat to sleep on the couch at night, so his head was misshapen. The foster family have helped him get a regular sleep schedule down, and he's being fitted for a helmet to reshape his skull. They also keep me up to date on the bio family gossip (no one can verify if bio mom is pregnant again since she's slipped off the grid again and bio dad is in prison until August) and I give them advice on how to handle communicating with them. It's kind of nice to have like-minded stable folks around to bounce stuff off of.

We have made a decision that this is our last year of fostering, for now. Unless bio mom is pregnant again. If she is...well, we want to be open to maybe taking in THAT little one if we are in a position to. The other foster family is also open to it, though I think they have been burned so many times they don't want to jinx their case with the little brother. So if she is pregnant, we are open to extending our foster license for another year. If she isn't, then we let the certification lapse and move on with our lives until we are in a position to open our home again.

I hope everyone else out there is holding up well.

VorpalBunny
May 1, 2009

Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog


Mocking Bird posted:

What a whirlwind! How are you holding up? I hope you're taking care of yourself and enjoying that you're in the next step of the process.

I thought I would have a much more difficult time with my decision to let him go. I anticipated this decision ever since we found out she was pregnant with him, and after he was born we jumped at every phone call waiting for him to be detained. I felt certain I was making the right choice, to fight for him to be in our family, but once he was here I was back to losing sleep and my mind and I realized I would be no good to anyone so frayed.

After we let him go I got a fair amount of crap from random people, including a pediatrician and some moms from my older kids' school, basically laying the classic guilt trip of "couldn't you hire a nanny?" and other such nonsense. Yes, if I dedicated my entire being to juggling the resources of our huge family in our tiny home and never showered or had sex with my husband or slept more than 4 hours a day, I might be able to keep everything running and not let the house fall into squalor. But, I like my tiny sliver of freedom and sleep fine in the knowledge he is in an (apparently) amazing foster home and we will still be a part of his life. And it was a decision made even easier in the knowledge bio mom might be pregnant again, confirming all those voices that chastised us when we considered taking him in in the first place. "What are you going to do, take in every kid she pops out?" was also one of those wonderful voices from the crowd.

Ultimately, it came down to my husband and myself deciding what was right for our family. And we are happy with our decision.

VorpalBunny
May 1, 2009

Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog


Magrat posted:

I need some dealing-with-the-system advice.
So: what do I do next? Who can legally tell me where this girl is?

I have no advice, because we are all dealing with a broken system. But I will tell a story that falls along the same lines:

We were open for a placement. It was late December 2016, around Christmas. We got a call for an infant needing emergency placement. We agreed to take him in, were told we would be contacted by the driver in the next hour or so with their arrival time. Never heard anything all day, the next day we didn't hear anything. A few days after we were supposed to take him in, we get a call from DCFS asking how he is doing. I was shocked, I told them he never arrived at our home and I never heard or signed anything. The worker sounded confused, thanked me for my time and promised to get back to me.

We never heard from her again, and to this day we wonder where that little boy ended up.

Maybe you should consult with a lawyer, to go down the legal rabbit hole and access records you otherwise might not be able to.

VorpalBunny
May 1, 2009

Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog


Magrat posted:

We found her and she's doing really well! Thanks for the advice!

That's amazing news! Congrats!

VorpalBunny
May 1, 2009

Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog


I just got word today that the bio mom to our current foster placement (and hopeful adopted daughter) is appealing the termination of parental rights granted last month. This woman has not seen her daughter in over 5 months, is openly using drugs and refusing all services, and literally kidnapped her bio son and hid from DCFS for a month until being captured, arrested and imprisoned.

I struggle with looking at her in a positive light. I can only imagine the hold that drugs have on these people, and no one is thinking clearly, but it just sucks to know we are going to be delayed in adopting her. We had it all worked out, adoption finalization then hopping a plane two days later for a big family vacation. Hopefully it will all work out anyway, but dealing with one last roadblock just sucks. Especially since we'll be done fostering/adopting for a while after her adoption is final.

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VorpalBunny
May 1, 2009

Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog


We had two bio kids and knew we wanted to foster/adopt. We braced ourselves for the worst...and the first was relatively easy and the second is almost over and has been kind of rocky but ended up as we expected.

The first newborn we took in was an 8-day placement. He was meth-positive and had a half-brother in the system placed with the bio family's relatives, so we were really supposed to be a temporary placement. It turns out, they had a ton of issues and he never left our home and we adopted him shortly after his 2nd birthday. We never met the bio parents.

The second newborn we took in was also a temporary placement. She was meth-positive and also syphilis-positive (turns out she didn't have the disease, just antibodies passed down in her blood) and her bio family was supposedly getting their home ready for her. It turns out, they had a ton of issues and she never left our home and we are on track to adopt her shortly after her 2nd birthday. We met the bio parents, they got pregnant again shortly after we took our foster daughter home from the hospital and they went to rehab trying to keep the second baby and relapsed within a few months.

I know a family that went through international adoptions - they adopted their daughter from Ethiopia. It was years of paperwork and interview hell, multiple trips back and forth, and they were able to adopt just before the country closed off to international adoptions. I think it cost them over $30k, and if it had taken a few weeks more to do paperwork or whatever, they would have missed the window and all that money would be gone. Their friend has been trying to adopt a special needs kid from Vietnam, like for a decade now, and he is still living in the orphanage in Vietnam they donate to and keep in contact with.

I had an interesting talk with a friend of mine, they are dealing with fertility issues and he refused to consider IVF because it wasn't a 100% guarantee. Like, he was expecting a refund if it didn't work. It made me think of people I talk with about our adoptions journeys. Things have gone shockingly well for us, and it still took years of our life and tons of uncertainty at every step. And we rolled the dice taking in meth-positive kids and both are healthy and strong, hitting all milestones and thriving!

Whatever plan you have for adopting, throw it out the window. You have to be able to roll with the punches and be open and flexible to whatever life throws your way. This is really just a general advice post, not aimed at anyone specific, just that literally every option is infused with uncertainty and potential for loss.

EDIT TO ADD:
I totally forgot a family we knew who went the private adoption route with a big famous adoption lawyer here in LA, spent a TON of money doing all the paperwork and preparing for the birth, and the bio mom decided against adoption after giving birth and then her baby was detained by DCFS and placed in the foster system anyway.

VorpalBunny fucked around with this message at 07:56 on Nov 29, 2018

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